Not very stable, nor a genius: Trump’s allies turn against him
In the midst of impeachment, as many as 200 inside sources admit they seriously doubt President Trump’s intentions as president. Among them are some of his closest allies.
KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross talked to Washington Post journalist and author of ‘A Very Stable Genius’ Carol Leonnig on Seattle’s Morning News. She co-authored the book with Philip Rucker, who is the Washington Post’s White House Bureau Chief.
Leonnig said the majority of those sources are Republicans who worked in the Trump administration.
“A lot of his Republican senior advisers that he personally handpicked were the ones that were trying to stop him,” Leonnig said. “Those folks told us in a way that shocked me, this man is a danger.”
After Mr. Trump’s surprise takeover of the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, many hoped that his inexperience in public service would allow the Republican party to aggressively pursue a conservative agenda, Leonnig said.
Sources told Leonnig and Rucker that Mr. Trump surprised them in two ways.
First, Trump has an utter lack of regard for taking advice or direction. He will not read basic briefing reports that provide critical information on global politics, Leonnig said.
“No president really knows everything,” Leonnig said. “But they have a whole firmament of experts at their beck and call to give them advice. Donald Trump didn’t like taking that advice.”
Second, Leonnig said, Trump shocked conservatives with his “impulsive, rash, undisciplined decisions … based on his view of how he could best polish his image on Fox News or in the mainstream media that day.”
The interests of the country, and even national security, are not paramount.
Mr. Trump quickly cuts those who push back against his personal agenda, and has created a chaotic atmosphere of sudden staff changes. Trump holds the record for the highest cabinet turnover of any president’s first term.
“All of the grown-ups have been driven out of the room by an abusive manager who doesn’t like counsel or warnings or go slow advice,” Leonnig said. “And he’s increasingly surrounded by people who view their mission as telling him yes.”
Leonnig and Rucker’s reporting preceded the impeachment trial that is now underway in the Senate. But the book’s fact-finding, Leonnig said, foreshadowed it.
“All these people who had been saying, ‘Wait a minute Mr. President, I don’t know if this is a good idea, they’re replaced by people like chief of staff Mike Mulvaney, who says, ‘You want to block the aid to Ukraine? We can do that.'”
Carol Leonnig and co-author Philip Rucker will be in conversation with Dave Ross at the Broadway Performance Hall on Wednesday, Jan 29 at 7 pm. Tickets can be purchased here.